The blog of The Harvard Crimson

The Top 20 Harvard-Yale Tips from the Class of 2020

Harvard-Yale Tickets
Resident Flyby seniors and seasoned Harvard-Yale attendees Stuti and Lydia mom the heck out of you with these tips for The Game. tl;dr: Charge your phone, wear layers.

  1. Share your location with your blockmates/best friends if you don’t have it shared already (which is a good safety measure for when you’re in Cambridge too!). Do it now before you forget! Service is often spotty at H-Y because of saturated cell towers and because The Game is played in the literal woods of Connecticut.

  2. Sign in to eduroam WiFi NOW so you’ll have some form of service at The Game (see #1).

  3. Another necessary technology hack: Bring a portable charger. You need phone power from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at least on that Saturday, and you don’t need it dying right when you need to contact your Yale residential college to let you in for all your belongings.

  4. Dress for the cold! While you may feel like certain drinks you may be consuming will shield you from the cold, your body is still totally capable of getting hypothermia. That means gloves (bonus points if they’re touch-screen gloves), hats, scarves, and multiple layers.

  5. Do wear your Harvard sweater if you invested in one. (Note: The H sweater should be one of many layers, and not your only layer). Seriously, we’ve rarely worn our Harvard sweaters. The H sweater I was so pressured into getting by Harvard Student Agencies’ adorable photoshoots is rounding out to a $20-per-wear purchase, which is still highly regrettable, but better than a $30-per-wear purchase?

  6. While Yale does give us free breakfast, it is basically guaranteed to run out if you wake up too late. In our experience, 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. is the sweet spot for breakfast but cutting it close could be very bad. The last thing you want is to have to wait in line for 40 minutes in a New Haven coffee shop. Actually, no, the last thing you want is to not get anything to eat and then go to The Game on an empty stomach — especially if you’re drinking!

  7. Avoid spending this week and set aside some cash for H-Y shenanigans. Even just 24 hours in New Haven tends to add up in the form of Ubers and food.

  8. The unfortunately named Yale Bowl is not like Harvard Stadium — as in, it’s genuinely far from campus. And not like Quad to River far. You can wait for the (free) buses to shuttle you over, though you might be on your feet in the cold for a while. Alternatively, if you choose to Uber or Lyft, you will hit a point on the trip when the traffic is backed up enough to force you to walk the rest of the way anyway.

  9. There is a McDonald’s at Uber distance from the Bowl. That is all.

  10. Have a couple condoms on you at all times. Can’t hurt, might help.

  11. Definitely go have fun at Toad’s, but get to bed on the earlier end on Friday night to save your real party energy for Saturday. (Expect like a 7 a.m. wake-up!)

  12. Hydrate or diedrate.

  13. Attention, East Coast friends: consider skipping class Monday/Tuesday and go home from New Haven via Amtrak or bus on Saturday if you can. Tickets tend to be way cheaper that weekend than the day before Thanksgiving, and if your family home is closer to New Haven than Boston, it simply makes sense.

  14. Pack a going out outfit for Friday night — your H sweater would make for sweaty club attire.

  15. Bring non-WiFi entertainments for the bus ride down and back. Examples include PDFs of class readings, downloaded Netflix episodes, a sleep-mask and earbuds, or your beverage of choice. Trust us, that drive takes way longer than you’d think.

  16. If the forecast calls for sun, bring shades. Remember, you’ll be outside all day! And you’ll want to shield your eyes from the reflective, pasty butts of Yalies in case they “Saybrook strip” again.

  17. If the forecast calls for rain, don’t worry about an umbrella. It will just get in the way. Embrace the wet, muddy tailgate vibes … just not in white Vans.

  18. Remember to get at least a pic or two with your friends! You’ll need to Instagram of course.

  19. If you’re a freshman and want to use this occasion to remind people you were choosing between Harvard and Yale because you were admitted to both, don’t!

  20. Harvard-Yale is not that deep. Just try to have fun!

Types of People You'll Find in Lecture

Sanders During Shopping Week
Most Harvard students can boast an intimate relationship with either the Science Center or Sanders Theater. Long lectures with nothing else to do (besides take notes) leave students to find plenty of ways to keep themselves entertained. Here’s a breakdown of people you’ll find if you actually show up to class.

The Frequent Flier

This kid is the epitome of “Section Kid,” with scarily toned triceps from always having their hand raised and a voice that projects to the very last seat in Science Center B. The professors, the TFs, people who show up to lecture (and people who don’t) all know this student’s name. After a giddy jump after they’ve been called on for the third time that day, they’ll spit out a paragraph-long answer. It’s hard not to wonder why they do it — it’s not like most lectures have participation points anyway.

The Ath-Late

The student athlete has it hard. From juggling early morning workouts to scootering across the river to get to lecture, we honestly don’t know how they do it — we can barely manage just going to class. They deserve a break when they roll into lecture late. After all, their scooters can only go so fast.

The Plastic Fanatic

You just woke up after a refreshing five minute lecture nap and you’re attempting to copy your friend’s notes on their laptop, only to see four Urban Outfitters tabs instead of the notes document you were hoping for. This lecture kid has already bought four pairs of jeans and has their credit card propped on their screen, ready to buy another color of their favorite chenille sweater.

The Pro-Procrastinator

This student is always furiously scribbling in their notebook, doing so much work that it’s impressive — but not for this class. No, this student is finishing their GenEd essay or math homework which is due right after this lecture, something that they’ll never stop reminding you about. Nevertheless, they manage to get it done. The speediness of this procrastinator is unparalleled — can you imagine what they’d get done if they worked like this all day?

The Silent Snoozer

You have never seen this kid awake. What color are their eyes? You’ll never know because they’re always asleep. From the moment you set your coat down to the moment you’re stuffing your laptop back into your bag, this kid is knocked out. Their jacket is being used as a blanket and their hat is pulled subtly over their eyes. You don’t know why they’re here, but you secretly wish you were more like them.

Lecture can be exciting with the right lecturer, but sometimes you just have to devote your attention elsewhere, whether it be online shopping or your next class. Maybe next time, just skip lecture and get those extra zzz’s instead.

So You Can't Pick a Concentration — Now What?

Be There. Be Declared.
#SophomoreSzn is upon us, and here at Harvard, that can only mean one thing: a mild existential crisis about picking a concentration.

While it seems like literally every other university is normal about the whole picking-a-major thing, what’s Harvard without a dose of completely unnecessary stress? If you’re floundering for a concentration as the deadline nears, don’t worry. Flyby’s compiled some last-ditch solutions so that you can walk into that fancy banquet in Annenberg with your head held high!

Take a Minute to Think

Never underestimate the power of a clear headspace. Take a walk. No, seriously. Get out of your dorm and block a two-and-a-half hour period from your life to decompress and think about the classes you actually enjoyed taking. If all else fails, maybe the cold will motivate you to make up your mind so that you can get back inside!

Assemble a Shark Tank Meeting with Your Friends and Have them Pitch Their Concentrations to You

Have a blockmate who’s been pre-med since birth? What about that friend who switched from Gov to Econ and tries to convince everyone that consulting isn’t that snakey? Or just want to hear an MCB and a HCRB concentrator duke it out over semantics? Grab some snacks and ask your friends to geek out over what they study! Best case scenario, you’ll feel a sense of direction after they’re done pitching. Worst case, it’ll probably be at least mildly entertaining.

Spend Some Boardplus and Hope The Answer Comes to You

In trying times, sometimes all you can do is eat a plate of mozz sticks and try to feel better. Wander on home to your grille of choice, order something hot, and try to not think of anything remotely related to your concentration.

Accept Defeat and Work on a Dog Sanctuary on an Island

Worst case scenario, when the going gets tough, pack your bags and leave. Instead of finding your way to a concentration you enjoy, focus all your energy into finessing some of Harvard’s money for a flight to Turks and Caicos, and live the rest of your days as a volunteer at this puppy shelter in literal paradise.

Wildly impractical? Maybe. A financial disaster? Most definitely. Guaranteed regrets in about 3 months? You betcha.

But at this point, any alternative to making adult life choices is becoming more attractive by the minute, so it’s time to snag some of that endowment and literally flee your problems.

But seriously: at the end of the day, you’ll be fine. It can be tough to figure out what you truly enjoy, how to set yourself up for a career path that is both practical and fulfilling, and which set of concentration requirements work with your schedule/interests, but it’s really going to be okay. Sophomore declarations aren’t written in stone (yes, people do actually change their majors in college), and there’s more than enough time to map out life beyond what you study in college! Best of luck with declaring to all the 2022s out there!

Why I Declared 2019: Humanities

Why I Declared
Concentration declaration is a rite of passage at Harvard. Some students know what they want to concentrate in from the moment they step foot on campus, and others are still wavering at 11:59 p.m. on declaration day. To get some perspective on concentration declaration, we asked Flyby sophomores studying the humanities why they declared.

History and Literature: Sarah M. Lightbody ’22

I started saying I was going to concentrate in History and Literature after getting absolutely freaked out in an Opening Days orientation meeting about concentrations. Mid-meeting, I pulled out my phone and scrolled through the requirements for just about every concentration, searching for something that seemed right for me. To be completely honest, Hist and Lit stood out to me because it had very few actual class requirements — it’s a pretty DIY concentration. So I started saying I would concentrate in Hist and Lit.

reading in the barker cafe

A little over a year later, I still want that flexibility, interdisciplinarity, choose-your-own-way course of studies. It’s a way to read books, consider art, have tiny class sizes and get to spend more time in the Barker Center (like almost every Hist and Lit concentrator, I’ve fallen head over heels for Barker Cafe). Plus, as someone who wants to study fashion, at a school with not a lot of fashion-centric courses, Hist and Lit will allow me to explore my options without having to worry as much about which department courses I’m required to fit into my schedule.

I’m planning on tying my Hist and Lit concencentration to an Economics secondary. My hottest Harvard hot take is that Ec10: “Principles of Economics” is great, and so I’m leaning into my inner snake. The combination of the two provides an analytical framework from multiple perspectives, which sounds like something straight out of a brochure, but is actually pretty genuine. In any case, I’m excited to see where the next few years take me.

History of Science and Romance Languages and Literatures: Maya S. Bhagat ’22

Coming into Harvard, I was really interested in biology — I’d wanted to be a scientist since I was a kid, and my high school mostly offered STEM classes. Having moved to a new country at age 12, I was also really excited about learning two new languages (Hindi and French) and enjoyed teaching myself history on the side. I took LS50: “Integrated Science” my freshman year, and while I liked and learned a lot from the class, along the way I realized that perhaps molecular biology was not the only thing which was very important to me. I discovered that I enjoyed a good balance of psets and paper classes, and found myself frequently bringing concepts from I learned in history class over to science and vice versa.

why I declared humanities

I still feel a twinge of guilt when I consider the possibility of leaving behind a career in the lab and question my abilities to be a good historian when I can’t remember the difference between modernism and postmodernism. I’m slow at learning new languages, but I genuinely enjoy the opportunity to peruse literary and cinematic texts at a place where there is less and less time for pleasure reading. Eventually, I do need to decide which way I want to swing in this tussle between biology and history, but History of Science and Romance Languages and Literatures, at this moment, provides me the best configuration to marry all my interests.

English or Philosophy: Michelle Lara ’22

“That’s so different — the admissions committee might like you!” is a reaction I typically get when I tell people my prospective concentration and that I’m also on the pre-med track. I always smile and continue the conversation, but I never know how to feel about it; it’s sad to think I would do it mainly for that reason. The Humanities departments at Harvard are absolutely phenomenal, and they offer opportunities that I'll never have again in my lifetime. I can casually get lunch with one of my favorite authors who is teaching a seminar next semester! I can finally learn how to make a college-level argument and articulate my thoughts in a convincing way! But sure, I'm just doing it for those medical school applications.

Barker Center

Literature is essentially a study of people. It’s fun to think of ourselves as sturdy people with definable — or almost “factual” — traits; by virtue of being human, however, how we define ourselves is a dynamic entity that changes at life’s every turn. Sometimes it takes a dramatic hypothetical to see it, but other times a week-in-the-life will suffice. Literature is the best way to explore the human condition in a life vastly different from yours.

If English is a study of people, then Philosophy is a study of truth. Since humans are such undefinable creatures, it’s impossible to assert how they think and act in a broader sense. Isn’t it fascinating how 2,500 years after Socrates was born, we still can’t agree on the right way to live? And that this issue remains at the heart of contemporary debates? When we then start making claims about the reality of human life and choices, it takes such meticulous argumentation that it leaves you wondering if you’ve been thinking incorrectly your entire life. I’m so tired of hearing about the “uselessness” of it all; I still believe there’s great value in paying close attention to other people.

Why I Declared 2019: Social Sciences

Why I Declared
Concentration declaration is a rite of passage at Harvard. Some students know what they want to concentrate in from the moment they step foot on campus, and others are still wavering at 11:59 p.m. on declaration day. To get some perspective on concentration declaration, we asked Flyby sophomores studying the social sciences why they declared.

Economics: Ariana Chiu ’22

I’d be lying if I said I came out of the womb with a passion for drawing demand curves and maximizing utility. I knew coming into college, however, that I wanted to combine my interests in mathematics and the humanities, and I soon realized that economics was the sweet spot I was searching for. The courses I have taken over the past three semesters have revealed how omnipresent the principles of economics are, and I’m excited to explore more niche applications of economics in the coming years.

Economics 10 textbook
Nothing like an expensive intro textbook to get you fired up about a field.

Economics is truly everywhere, and though I may not know exactly what career(s) I want to pursue in the future, the concentration provides me with a great degree of flexibility and freedom to discover just that. Courses in economics will enable me to develop invaluable skills, ranging from critical thinking to data analysis, and equip me with the tools to better engage with and propose solutions to global social, political, and economic issues.

I am also interested in human decision-making and the ways in which our decisions interact on a broader scale. So sure, concentrating in Ec is basically asking to be labelled either a snake or a sellout, but if you ask me, the benefits undoubtedly outweigh the costs in the end.

Social Studies: Rachel L. Reynolds ’22

First, a disclaimer: Concentration Declaration Day is coming up, and I’m still not entirely sure what I’ll be concentrating in. I’ve known since the beginning that I’ve wanted to concentrate in a social sciences field, but so far I’ve considered nearly everything: Government, History, Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology, and (of course) Social Studies. This indecision is one reason that I’m leaning heavily towards Social Studies with a secondary in Psychology, since it involves nearly all of these fields I’ve considered.

social studies books on bookshelf
Ah, a nice bookshelf full of Social Studies books.

However, this indecision isn’t my only reasoning. While Social Studies is a good possibility for anyone wanting to get a little sample of everything, it has many of its own merits that I appreciate so much. One of the best descriptions I’ve heard of this concentration is that you can study a little bit about everything, versus a lot about one thing in other concentrations. While this has its pros and cons, I really like the idea of being able to pick a topic that I’m passionate about and explore it using a bunch of different disciplines. And while writing a thesis seems daunting, I am comforted by how the department encourages concentrators to start thinking of their focus fields from the very beginning (though there’s no pressure to stick with these original plans).

While a lot of my plans are still up in the air, I’m so excited to be taking this next step and actually declaring a concentration in Social Studies!

Psychology: Allison S. Barker '22

In high school, I found myself immersed in both the scientific and artistic communities, although I rarely felt as though either were completely right fits for me. For this reason, I suspected that I might find myself studying the social sciences when I came to college. Much to the chagrin of my mother and various Uber drivers who have helpfully warned me that I could be studying things that would make me employable, I have found myself drawn toward Psychology. The concentration is far from an unusual choice for the undergraduate body, and the sheer size of the department initially discouraged me from wanting to join the ranks of its loyal student body.

William James Hall
William James Hall: home away from home for Psychology concentrators.

My attitude shifted solidly, however, over the course of my first semester at Harvard, when I took SLS20: “Psychological Science” (now PSY1: “Introduction to Psychological Science”) and ended up in a Psychology of Religion seminar. Both were highlights of my semester. Throughout my (almost) three semesters at Harvard, Psychology has been the only field of classes that I have consistently enjoyed taking. I always looked forward to finishing readings in my SLS20 textbook and am always intrigued by the papers that I have to pour through for my Psychology tutorial.

I joined Professor Daniel Gilbert’s social psychology lab during my second semester of freshman year, and that experience has been similarly positive. The staff members and graduate students of the Harvard Psychology department are some of the most welcoming and helpful humans that I have encountered at this school, and I have never felt anything short of fully supported and cared for as part of the community. I cannot wait to continue deepening my connection to the Psychology department (and the College at large) as I progress through college. Here’s to hoping I’ll still be able to get a job post-graduation!

Why I Declared 2019: STEM

Why I Declared
Concentration declaration is a rite of passage at Harvard. Some students know what they want to concentrate in from the moment they step foot on campus, and others are still wavering at 11:59 p.m. on declaration day. To get some perspective on concentration declaration, we asked Flyby sophomores in STEM why they declared.

Integrative Biology: Peyton A. Jones

Before I came to Harvard, I knew I wanted to study some kind of biology and was interested in clinical research as a potential career path. As a freshman, I tentatively decided to pursue Molecular and Cellular Biology because a) the acronym sounded ~fancy~ and the content aligned with my career interests and b) I was too lazy to really do a deep dive into what the other life science concentrations required. Then, a series of disappointing research experiences made me look deeper into my future plans — I mean, you can only pipette for so many hours on end before you start rethinking your life choices, right?

Rhino why I declared integrative bio
Integrative Biology gives you the chance to interact with creatures of all forms.

As it turns out, I really don’t like research all that much. The daily routine of lab work feels a little too removed from biology. I’d much rather study life than vaguely manipulate it in test tubes. I also underestimated how much of a teamwork/social component I need in my work life (lab work can be lonely, y’all)!

I talked with a few of the life sciences concentrators about my frustrations with research and found that Integrative Biology had both the kinds of classes and potential career paths that I felt were missing from my past research experiences (with the added bonus of the amazing Andrew Berry as the undergraduate advisor).

Even though it took a bit of pivoting to find a new concentration, I’m glad that I took the time to find a concentration that really fits me instead of just going with some arbitrary freshman year decision. I’m super excited for the rest of my time at Harvard as an Integrative Biology concentrator and can’t wait to see where my studies take me — and I don’t just mean figuratively. Not to flex, but Integrative Biology will actually take you places. Check out Organismic and Evolutionary Biology 11: “Introduction to Tropical Biology” (Australia!) or Organismic and Evolutionary Biology 51: “Biology and Evolution of Invertebrate Animals” (Caribbean!) if you need any more incentive to declare!

Molecular and Cellular Biology: Kiana Ziadkhanpour

Coming into my freshman year unsure of what exactly I wanted to pursue, I was ready to try out different classes and concentrations. I took a variety of courses in different fields: Life Sciences 1a: “An Integrated Introduction to the Life Sciences: Chemistry, Molecular Biology, and Cell Biology” to see if my passion for biology would persist, a course about the Old Kingdom of Giza to explore my interests in history and anthropology, and an environmental science classes to learn more about the climate crisis. Right off the bat, it became clear that biology was right for me. Specifically, I was interested in learning more about biological processes and really enjoyed the applications that Molecular and Cellular Biology had to offer.

Science Center Plaza in Spring
Home sweet home for many STEM students.

Molecular and Cellular Biology, although challenging, has been incredibly interesting. In my first MCB-geared course, I’ve learned so much about a variety of scientific techniques and relevant biological applications. MCB offers the chance to learn about the newest scientific breakthroughs as well as fundamental biological foundations of life.

MCB caters to my appreciation of science and interest in pursuing an impactful field of study, as does my secondary: Environmental Science and Public Policy. My passion for environmental studies aligns with the problem-solving skills I’ve gained through MCB. This fall, I’ll be declaring MCB with a secondary in ESPP, and I couldn’t be more excited!

Computer Science and Mathematics: Lucy Liu

I’ve always loved puzzles, which might explain why I’m drawn to subjects where the work feels like a puzzle (albeit an extended, very difficult, and often frustrating puzzle). As a freshman, I knew that I was interested in math, computer science, and their applications, but I didn’t know how to choose between CS, various Applied Math or Statistics tracks, and options for secondaries.

CS50
The CS50 door at HSA is all too familar to CS concentrators.

Initially, I wanted to do Applied Math because it was so flexible and had a CS track. This year, though, I noticed that for many of the Applied Math concentration requirements, the class satisfying them that I found the most interesting was a pure math class. Plus, some pure math classes I wanted to take didn’t even count for Applied Math concentration credit. When I realized that I just wanted to take a lot of math and computer science courses, I figured I should try for a joint concentration between Computer Science and Mathematics.

I like these subjects because the classes teach you far more than just new information. When I solve a problem that I couldn’t have solved a year ago, it’s not just because I knew a new formula or theorem — it’s because I’ve become a stronger, more creative, and more confident thinker. It also doesn’t hurt that CS is insanely useful and that math is beautiful and quite fun (even though my friends don’t believe me when I say that).

They Might Not Be Into You If … Harvard Edition

Eliot Dining Hall
Now that it’s cuffing season, you may have been persuaded to shoot your shot a few times, but there’s a line between going for it and pursuing a dead end. Here are some ways to know if that Harvard student you’ve got your eye on just isn’t into you.

They Look Board When You Mention You Have Extra BoardPlus to Blow

This may be cheesy, but if your crush turns down free mozzarella sticks, they might have been stringing you along. On the plus side, the grille you’re at will never grill you about your past relationships or break your heart.

When You Tell Them You’ll Save Them a Spot in Lecture, They Ask You to Take Notes

I’m not here to lecture anyone, but if you attempt to get more face time in by saving them a seat in lecture and they take that as an offer to take notes for them as they sleep in, they’re unfortunately sleeping on you. You might be hearing “notes,” but what they really mean is no-tes.

They Give You the Cold Shoulder

If your attempts to use the cold weather to flirt fall flat, that’s your cue to move on. If you offer her your Harvard Athletics sweatshirt and she tells you she’s not cold, athlete or not, you’re out of the running. And if you say you’re cold and he says “I can’t control the weather,” it’s time you dropped the man and get yourself a jacket.

The Dhall Default

If you invite them to eat in the Square and they consistently default to Harvard University Dining Services, that’s dhallmark of disinterest. In other words, if you’re looking for hugs but get HUDS, it’s time to digest the hard truth: They’re just not into you.

The Phony

If they’re always on their phone when you see them but you get hours of radio silence to your “How was your day’s,” it’s time to call it quits. While it’s possible that they just are that busy, chances are, you’re better off dialing it back.

It’s a tough world out there, and finding love is hard. But rest assured, the earlier you know when to cut your losses, the more time and energy you’ll have to expend on the right person.

The Top 5 Reasons to Love Cabot Café

Cabot Cafe
This shouldn’t even be considered a hot take: Cabot Café — or CabCaf, as it is affectionately called — is clearly an awesome Harvard café. Located in Cabot’s E entryway, it accepts BoardPlus; serves Hot Pockets, pastries, drinks with fun names (Chai Love Lucy, anyone?); and has a superior Spotify playlist — what else could you ask for? But wait, there’s more: It’s open until 1 a.m. Yeah, you heard that right — you can get your non-watered-down-dhall-coffee caffeine fix after midnight. These should be selling points enough, but here are a few other reasons why you should stop sleeping on Cabot Café:

Comfy and Varied Seating

Cabot Café has armchairs, couches, individual tables, and group tables for whatever study vibe you’ve got going on: curling up in a chair with a book, taking up all the real estate for those nights where literally every class has something due, or suffering through a pset with your fellow STEM concentrators.

Atmosphere

The lighting is warm, with some fairy lights and student-submitted art hung up, as well as a new chalkboard where people can write positive messages. It’s not a quiet-only space, so while you’ll find people studying, it’s also a lovely place to go to just sit and catch up with your Quadling friends. Plus, if there’s a song you really want to listen to, the baristas take requests!

Community

Cabot residents never stop gushing about how much they love the House’s community. Sitting in Cabot Café, you’ll experience firsthand the legendary strength and warmth of the Cabot community. Cabot Café is a community gathering space — Queer Cabot, for example, hosts several events here every semester. Cabot Café also has several board games for when you want to just relax for some friendly Catan competition or a game of gin rummy.

Access to Brain Break

Stop by the dhall to get some bread before settling down in Cabot Café with your specialty drink, like a Matcha Do About Nothing or Queen Bee Frappe.

MILK. TEA.

You heard it here first: This year Cabot Café is serving milk jelly tea! That alone is reason enough to hop on the shuttle.

Honestly, we’re shocked Quadlings ever go to the river houses to study when Cabot Café exists. That should make you river residents feel extra special. Stop by Cabot Café sometime, and have the transformative experience for yourself. We hope we won’t regret revealing this hidden gem to you.

Quiz: Which Harvard Spam Email Are You?

The Harvard Shop
While we all wish we were as exciting as emails announcing lottery winners for College Events Board events or acceptances from professors to join their research projects, like it or not, most of us are doomed to the sad fate of being a mildly irritating and predictable spam email. But are you the relentless Harvard Shop email announcing yet another discount or the house email thread that has gone entirely off the tracks? Take this quiz to find out!

1. On a Saturday night you can be found…

A. Doing the same thing you do in lecture: online shopping. You need more Harvard gear! Last week, someone asked you what school you went to and you simply can’t be bothered with such absurd questions.

B. Shooting your shot — at the gym of course. You need a few pointers (maybe a three-pointer) on how to shoot your shot romantically.

C. Fast asleep on your big, comfy, roomy bed!

D. On your way to Brain Break only to realize that it’s Saturday, and deprived of your nightly sustenance, you return to your room to rant about this act of injustice via an email blast.

2. What is your go-to method for blowing off some steam?

A. Blowing off your friends to steam the new clothes you just bought because while friends will try to get you to cool down, your clothes will appreciate the heat you’re sharing with them.

B. Sitting in a steamy sauna post-gym. Why get worked up when you can work out?

C. St(r)eaming Netflix while making popcorn using your handy microfridge, of course!

D. You can’t steam (read: seem) to find your roommates, and besides, why deprive your house from hearing the great tales of your woes when you have a talent for storytelling?

3. What would be your worst dhall nightmare?

A. Spilling something on your Harvard sweater. That would be horrific, horrendous, and horrifying.

B. The dhall running out of Powerade. You can power through any other misfortune, but the loss of this beverage is enough to send you into a beve-rage

C. Losing your water bottle. Wat-er you supposed to pour water into now?

D. Zero drama in the dhall. Isn’t the point of going to the dhall making sure that you can go back to your room without feeling bored?

4. What is your modus operandi when it comes to scoring a date?

A. You take them out on spontaneous adventures to show them that there is nothing worse than staying Coop-ed up.

B. You take things slow. If there’s one thing you’ve learned on the courts, it’s the art of courtship.

C. You woo them with your impeccable hygiene.

D. You let them know how much they mean to you by sending them the modern love letter: an email that brings tears to your house dean’s eyes.

Results:

Mostly A’s: You are the relentless Harvard Shop emails. You provide us with a means to retail-iate against our bank accounts.

Mostly B’s: You are the tenacious Harvard Athletics emails. You keep track of all the major sports games, but greatly overestimate our willingness to traipse across the bridge to cheer on our classmates.

Mostly C’s: You are the clingy Cleaners and Dorm Essentials emails. You help us keep our emails clean by making us rapidly delete spam emails and only keep the essentials.

Mostly D’s: You are the random and often too personal house emails. We know you have a blast sending out email blasts, but if you need tape, please just go ask a friend instead of spamming us all.

Ways to Avoid Your Ex at Harvard

Romance Dept
Dating a fellow Havardian is all fine and dandy until the day the relationship crumbles and you begin to bemoan the fact that you had to go and choose someone from a population of less than 7,000. Something about ending a relationship at Harvard prompts you to see them at every turn, encountering them more often than when you were together. If you’re really set on enjoying the rest of your Harvard experience without running into your ex — determined enough that you are willing to spare no expense — Flyby has you covered.

Say Fly-bye

If you’re one of the unlucky few that made the fatal decision to date intra-house, you may fret that you may never again enjoy a dhall meal in peace. If the thought of seeing your ex in the dhall is less than appealing, you may want to consider befriending the other Fly-By (the Harvard University Dining Services service housed under the Annenberg).

Remind Them You’re No Longer Their Ride or Die

Escaping your ex is no easy feat when you have nothing but your feet to carry you away. Once they’re no longer your sole-mate, invest in a scooter, so when you sense their presence, you can zoom away before the inevitably painful encounter. Bonus points if the oncoming herd (gaggle? flock?) of athletes accepts you as one of their own and lets you blend in with them.

Ex-periment with Makeup

Trying to avoid the ex who couldn’t make up their mind on anything? Take advantage of the fact that it’s still kinda spooky season and try a new look. Plus, rest assured that no matter how much makeup you apply, your days as a clown are behind you.

Say Far-ewell

If all else fails and you can’t get your ex to leave the country, you may have to take one for the team and go to the one place they will most likely never venture: the Quad. And if they’re in the Quad, avoiding them should be a breeze — one of the primary perks of dating a Quadling.

Though avoiding your ex is a great way to escape being reminded of a void in your life, it can only be a temporary solution. At the end of the day, this is your campus just as much as it is theirs, so expect to run into your ex — and who knows, maybe one day you’ll even smile and ask them to grab a meal (though whether you’ll follow up on that is another matter entirely).

A Guide to Getting it Done: Campus Bathroom Ratings

Bathroom Stall
Between one-ply toilet paper and unscented soap, it’s not easy to find a luxurious public bathroom here on campus. After some investigation, however, it turns out Harvard actually has a few places that make the cut. Behold: the information that everyone needs, but few are brave enough to collect.

Science Center

Location-wise, the Science Center seems like the ideal place for a midday bathroom break — as long as you aren’t going in the basement. Steer clear of these bathrooms. The broken locks, long lines, and wider than average gaps between stalls are everybody’s middle school nightmare.

While the basement might not be the ideal option, venture to the second floor of the Cabot Science Library for a real modern upgrade. Don’t count on being able to go right away, though. With only three single-stall (and gender-neutral!) bathrooms available for use, you’ll get your privacy, but you might have to wait your turn.

Northwest Labs:

These are pretty much the average public restroom. Multiple stalls, gray square tiles, and an occasional shortage of toilet paper give you a pretty unmemorable experience. They’re totally not worth going out of your way for, but if you’re there and you have to go? Hey, why not.

Smith Campus Center:

The best part about these bathrooms is undeniably the tilework (great for that #bathroomselfie), not to mention the fancy sinks, big mirrors, and toilet seat covers that make for a pretty nice rest stop. The only downside is getting past the “hover your HUID over the keypad to unlock” system that never seems to work when you really need it to.

Robinson:

It’s a shame that no one knows about these bathrooms (or even where they are), but maybe that’s why they’re the best. The huge mirrors, high ceilings, and the neon yellow stalls make these the actual bathroom jackpot. Someone put a lot of work into designing them, so they’re definitely worth venturing out past Sever to check out.

Lamont:

Although the marble walls might claim otherwise, the bathrooms in Lamont Library aren’t all that special. Among the busiest bathrooms on campus, about half the stalls scream “clean me” on any given Sunday night. Fortunately, they do have toilet-seat covers to address your hygiene woes. Just remember that men's and women’s rooms are on alternate floors.

When you’re running late to class and you really have to go, it’s nice to have so many public spaces to choose from. Some are great and some are just not, but at least they’re all equipped with toilets, paper, and most importantly, soap.

What Your Fall Footwear Says About You

Autumn in the Yard
As the temperatures drop and even the bravest of students start to swap out their shorts for pants, footwear also begins to change. Check out what your fall shoe selection says about you.

Basic (probably black or brown) Boots

You’re ready for fall! These are the simple but practical choice, so odds are you’re practical too. The ruby foliage will perfectly complement your new beanie and flannels, made complete by your fall footwear. You’re on track for a great semester.

Heeled Booties

You’re trendy and classy, likely sporting a trench coat with a pumpkin spice latte in hand. Everyone can hear you coming but that doesn’t slow you down because you’re always on your way somewhere. Whether that’s a pset group, a club meeting, or your dorm, you don’t let anything get in your way.

Timberlands / LL Bean Boots

You were made for the outdoors. You’re prepared for the cold, bundling your feet up before any of your classmates have even thought about winter. Not only are you ready for below freezing temps but you’ve definitely already finished all the psets due up until Thanksgiving, and have stressed about your post-grad job as a freshman.

White Sneakers

You’re practical, but you’re also cool. You probably wear the same shoes all year round, swapping them out annually for the newest and trendiest kicks. And yet, you still look stylish, whether you’re wearing sweats or your newest buy. You’re on top of all of the latest Harvard happenings and you’re the one your friends go to when you don’t know what to do on a Friday night.

Fur-Lined Gucci Mules

We wish we were joking. You always have a coffee from Tatte on your way to class and soon, you’ll bust out your Canada Goose. You’ve eaten in the dhall maybe four times so far and opt for a purse to carry your MacBook, your iPad, your iPad Mini, and Louis Vuitton wallet instead of slumming it up with the rest of us peasants who opt for black backpacks.

Flip flops

You radiate chaotic energy, and exclusively drink hot black coffee and blue Powerade from the dining halls. You can always be found in either Cabot or Lamont at ungodly times, finishing an essay due in five hours and yet still getting an A. We don’t know how you do it, but we also don’t envy you.

No matter what shoes you choose to sport, we understand everyone has to do what they gotta do to survive the semester — just maybe not in bare feet.

You Wish You Had an Electric Unicycle Like Marwah W. Sabrah

Marwah and her electric unicycle
Some of us bike or scooter around campus. Others walk from place to place, usually arriving a few minutes late (i.e. still going by Harvard Time). And others simply flake on commitments when venturing through the cold feels like too much work. There are plenty of campus transportation options, but Marwah W. Sabrah ’21 has arguably the coolest and sleekest one of all. Marwah has been riding an electric skateboard for three years and began using an 18-inch wheel electric unicycle a few weeks ago. We sat down with her to talk about, well, what it was like being so cool.

How did you get started with all of this?

I always wanted to ride a skateboard, and I wasn't really able to do it, because I'm really clumsy. But I had time over the summer at some point to just invest and practice. And I had already bought, like, the electric one, so it would be bad if I didn't learn how to use it. After that, though, I found it to be extremely enjoyable just riding around. Especially like around lakes, rivers, natural environments. It's very refreshing; it's very meditative.

Was learning how to ride the electric skateboard difficult?

It was a learning curve at first because I'm just generally very clumsy, so it took a while for me to get the hang of it. I think like, after a couple of weeks though, I was pretty comfortable and confident.

Marwah rides her electric unicycle!
Marwah on the move!
What about the unicycle?

So basically, if you want to accelerate, you have to lean your body forward. If you want to decelerate or go backwards, you have to lean back. And to turn, you kind of maneuver it with your feet. So that was a really hard portion to also learn, because at some point I was able to go in like, straight stretches, but turning essentially made me fall over to the side.

How fast does the unicycle go?

Believe it or not, the maximum speed on it — which I would never do because I value my life — but the maximum speed on it is 50 miles per hour.

What?!

Like, five-zero.

How fast do you go, then?

I would say I go like 35 to 40 miles per hour, depending on what the conditions are and, like, the general speed of other cars.

What else can you do on it?

People have videos of them hiking up mountains on the unicycles. You can like, ride it on the beach, you can go off road. They're powerfully, wildly strong.

You got this unicycle pretty recently, but if you had the chance to upgrade again, what would you get?

If I could upgrade and if I could afford it, there are these things that cost like twenty, thirty thousand dollars. It’s like a jetpack, but over water.

Do you have any thoughts on Razor scooters? Would you ever get one?

At this point, no. Size-wise, they're not like, small. They're not like, smaller than what I already have in order to be more convenient in that aspect. Plus, I think at that point I would just walk, given the speed difference of walking versus taking the scooter. But I do respect them.

According to Marwah, the electric unicycles are generally all sold from overseas, so if you want your own, you’ll have to do your own research on which model to get. Plus, you’ll have to learn how to unicycle. Good luck!

Love it or Hate it: Couples' Costumes

Halloween Costumes: Netflix and Chill
Love it: Impress us with your creativity — Christine Mui

Why not have matching costumes? At least this way, you’re less likely to lose sight of your significant or not-so-significant other over Halloweekend. Is your S.O. the type of person who ghosts in person? Wearing matching costumes means they’ll have to stick by you the rest of the night for people to understand their costume. Couple costumes are also the best solution to last-minute lack of creativity, for Halloween at least. If you dress up as a black cat on your own, you’re basic. Add in a matching mouse costume, though, and suddenly, it’s cute while giving the illusion of effort. Likewise, cheetah costumes can easily get lost in a crowd. But, upgrade it by getting that person you made out with at the First Chance Dance to dress up as a Cheeto, and you’re a snack (literally)!

Couple costumes also bring you one step closer to trapping that special somebody right before cuffing season. You’ll be guaranteed someone who’s willing to sacrifice their Canada Goose to the Cambridge snow and deliver you snacks, so you can stay full while skimming the first and last paragraphs of your readings. Also, remember that this is Harvard — never stop thinking about future opportunities. In case they become the next Mark Zuckerberg, nothing says “hire me” more than a picture of your Daenerys and Khal Drago costumes that were haphazardly thrown together from your blockmates’ closets stapled to your resume.

This Halloweekend, remember that hangovers will fade along with your memories of the night, but Instagram is forever. And what better to post on your feed than a matching costume?

Hate It: Save your relationship celebrations for Valentine’s Day— Anna M. Peters

Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Peanut Butter and Jelly. Moth and Lamp. Plug and Socket. The list is terrifying and endless. We all love to hate couple’s costumes, but just in case you didn’t already, here are a few of the reasons.

First of all, we get it, you guys love each other. You’re cuffed. There’s no need to dress like it. Second, the time and effort that needs to go into planning and coordinating a unique, authentic couple’s costume is ridiculous. Let’s be real, who actually has the energy for that? Our schedules are already packed with classes, meetings, and of course, our fave: psets.

If those reasons aren’t convincing enough, when are couple’s costumes actually cute instead of cringey? We mean, if you’re extremely talented, then you could finesse your way into making it look original and fun. But, chances are that it won’t, so quit while you’re ahead. Lastly, rumor has it you have to actually have a significant other to do this — upsetting, we know. Even if you are able to execute the art of concocting an original, cute, non-cringey couple’s costume, you have to have a S.O. to wear it with. We don’t need Halloween to be Valentine’s Day 2.0.

At the end of the day, we can’t stop you if your heart’s deepest desire is to get spooky with your boo, but don’t say we didn’t warn you

Spooky Season on a Budget

Pumpkins at the Harvard Farmer's Market
With the leaves turning beautiful shades of orange, yellow, and ~crimson~, most students bust out their warmest scarves, fuzziest socks, and pumpkin spice lattes. With the crisp October days coming to a close, however, some students know that a picturesque Harvard Yard means spooky season is now well underway. Here are some last-minute ways you and your roommates can make your suite the most boo-tiful of them all:

Fairy lights

Let’s be honest, telling scary ghost stories under the pale glow of those wobbly silver floor lamps doesn’t make for the most thrilling night-in. If you really want to set the mood, you need heaps and heaps of string lights everywhere. Amazon, Target, or Walmart are your one-stop shops for cheap lights online.

Pumpkins

Make a day of this one with your roomies by stopping by pumpkin patches at Allandale Farm, Honey Pot Hill Orchards, or Westward Orchards for an Instagram-worthy autumnal day. If your Gcal doesn’t allow for such an excursion out of the Harvard bubble, stop by the Science Center Plaza Farmer’s Market on a Tuesday to pick up a pumpkin or two before they’re gone for good.

Fake spiderwebs

To maximize the scare factor in spooky season, you can’t go wrong with a few cobwebs strewn about the room. They’re a simple Halloween-esque addition, and hey, at least it’ll be a bit more fitting the next time you see that little spider on the wall by your dresser. Order a few bags of cotton batting online and get creative!

Door decorations

This is an easy way to let your hallmates know you’re serious about this time of year. To keep it classic, you can easily find some mini skeletons or ghosts online to hang on your door. If you want to really “trick or treat yo’ self,” get a chalkboard sign so others can see you’re just “creepin it real” by displaying the great Halloween puns that didn’t make the Instagram caption cut.

Window Post-its

If you feel like splurging a little at Staples, stock up on fun colored Post-it notes and let your inner Halloween fanatic run wild. Try spelling out cute messages or more Halloween puns for the tourists’ viewing pleasure. Better yet, use those Post-its to create geometric images of scary ghosts, moonlit pumpkin patches, or Remy the cat…the possibilities are endless.

Even with dangerously low bank accounts and booked schedules, it’s never impossible to deck out your dorm for the Halloween season. Hopefully this list will get you started on all the cheap and fun ways you can make your suite look wicked awesome. Happy Halloween!

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